By guest writer Julia Wilkinson-Minks (2008 & 2012 Canadian Olympian)
MERSIN, Turkey, June 24. FOUR days of racing down and only one to go at the Mediterranean Games in Mersin, Turkey, and it doesn't look like any country has a chance to win even half the gold medals that Italy will end up walking away with.
First off the blocks was Italy's Martina De Memme, who won her third gold medal of the week, this time in the 200-meter freestyle. De Memme won in 1:59.65, the only woman to post a sub-two minute swim. De Memme added this victory to her 400-meter and 800-meter freestyle wins from this Games.
In the men's 200-meter freestyle, Serbia's Velimir Stjepanovic won handily ahead of second place in 1:47.00. This is Stjepanovic's second win of the Games, winning the 400-meter freestyle on day 1. Olympic champion in the mile and open water, Oussama Mellouli, was second in 1:49.21.
Farida Osman of Egypt won her country's first medal in the pool, winning gold in the 50-meter butterfly in 26.15. Serbia's Ivan Lendjer won the men's 50-meter butterfly in 23.50, another gold to match his 100-meter butterfly medal from earlier in the Games.
Italy was victorious in both the women's and men's backstroke events: Elena Gemo won the women's 100-meter in 1:01.57, Matteo Milli won the men's in 55.12.
Oussama Mellouli of Tunisia was back in action in his premier event, the men's 1500-meter freestyle. The 2008 Olympic gold medalist in this event won in 15:12.36. Italy's Luca Baggio stayed relatively close to Mellouli and finished three seconds behind in 15:15.16.
Italy was victorious in the final event of the evening, the women's 800-meter freestyle relay. The team of Chiara Masini Luccetti, Diletta Carli, Stefania Pirozzi and Mediterranean Games 200-meter freestyle champion Martina De Memme won well ahead of second-place Spain in 8:07.50.
Italy has now won 43 medals at the pool during these Mediterranean Games: 16 gold, 18 silver and 9 bronze. The country with the most amount of gold medals after Italy is Serbia, with four, and from a total medal count perspective, Spain is in second with 14. The swimming concludes tomorrow.
Julia Wilkinson-Minks is a two-time Olympian for Canada and was a finalist in the 200-meter IM at the 2008 Beijing Games. In 2010, she became Texas A&M's first ever NCAA champion in swimming when she won the 100-yard freestyle. She graduated from Texas A&M with a degree in Speech Communication. Julia retired from competitive swimming following the London Olympic Games and now lives in Texas with her husband Shane.
Follow her on twitter @juliah2o